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Monday, June 29, 2015

Be You Own Hero

Most of us grew up watching X-Men and Batman and other super hero shows, dreaming and wishing we could be like them. To possess the brute strength of Superman, or super speed like the Flash, or the agility and wit of the Batman always seemed like a great dream that was unattainable and only in the world of fantasy.

Then I realized it’s not as unattainable as one might think. You can actually become your own hero with your own superpowers. Yes, I said superpowers. You may be asking yourself “How?” right now. Well, fitness, in its many shapes and forms, can also be seen as a super power. If you think about our heroes we read about and their powers you realize that most their powers come from some sort of athleticism. For instance, take the Flash. His super power is super speed. Now how many of you have ran track, a marathon or just run in general as a way of staying in shape and active? Well BOOM! You have your super power! Of course you may not be as fast as the Flash but I know some people who are pretty darn fast.

Now what if running isn’t your thing? What if you like to lift heavy objects for a sense of power? Well then, I would say you have BAM super strength. You are now the modern day Wonder Woman or She Hulk and for the men, Superman. Both weight lifting and power lifting could be considered super strength, though I don’t think super strength alone is the only thing you could compare with these two sports. If we really think about it, moving heavy weight is also a lot like moving the earth known as the super power of earth control. If we can pick up a weight in a gym we can pick up rocks, dirt and trees. Wouldn’t you say?

Then you have the graceful gymnasts. These athletes display a lot of physical agility in their movements.   Some might say they are in the same class with Spider-Man. Yes, he swings through the air, does flips and takes out the bad guys. Gymnasts aren’t big people and neither is Spider-Man (In comparison to the Hulk). Another superhero that uses agility would be Batman, not just physical but mental as well. Batman foresees his obstacle when you think there is no way he could get around it. BANG POW!! He has prevailed with his uncanny wit and swift agile movements. Martial Arts could also be thrown into this mix because it is not only a sport but also a tool that many of the superhero’s we grew up with, use. One of my favorite lady heroines is Black Widow. She is agile, quick, and a very skilled martial artist. Not to mention she looks really good in leather.

Then there is the sport of Cross Fit. The superhero I think of when I think of Cross Fit is Captain America. He is strong, quick, and displays an endless amount of muscular and cardiovascular endurance. All of which are necessary for the sport of Cross fit. His “never say never” attitude when taking on the bad guys could be compared with continuing to push through a workout of the day (WOD) even though you feel like throwing in the towel. With Cross Fit’s strength training based workouts that are fast paced with high reps, you can see how one could easily be seen as a super hero.

Willpower, a power we use to overcome obstacles.   Willpower is used, if you think about it, in all areas of fitness. Green Lantern is a prime example of this. In the beginning, his ring had a weakness to the color yellow but over time he overcame that weakness. In life we face many struggles not just in fitness but in other aspects as well. We use our willpower to figure out how to overcome our obstacles just as the Green Lantern did.   We are going to run into things or people that may slow us down but know that in time you will prevail! Willpower is used not only in the mental aspect of fitness but also in the physical. Think of it this way, when you lift a weight, you to have to know you can move it and then use that mind/muscle connection to perform the motion. When you try to lift a heavier object, your mind may say you can’t do it so therefore your muscles will agree because the mind and muscle connection is not there. It may take a few tries to get that connection to sink in and to get them to say, “I can “then to say,” "I will” and finally to say, “Yeah I just did”. So Willpower is a superpower that we must all possess. Not only in the sense to say no to things we don’t need in our lives but also to move forward in our athletic superpower ability.
These are just a few examples how sports and fitness can be compare to superpowers. As you can see, living a fit and healthy lifestyle has already given you a superpower. You may actually have more than one. Now go out there and become your own hero!

 Become Your Own Hero Workout:

 This is a group of workouts that you can commonly do in the gym but made fun by adding some of my favorite superhero names for a twist. 

1) Captain America All American Workout - 4x10
  • Have DB's your weight choice and start in plank
  • Go into push up keeping your core engaged
  • Do Rows both sides 
  •  Jump in as if you are doing a bur-pee
  • Squat down and push up 

 2) Black Widow's Jump Lunges with punch 4x10
  •   Begin by stepping forward, bending at both knees keeping the front knee aligned over your ankle as the back knee comes close to the floor punching out with one arm.  
  • Then jump as you alternate leg and arm always keeping your core enraged throughout the movement
  • It's ok if you are a bit off balance that is expect. 
  • If uncomfortable jumping as you switch just step forward and punch out.

3) Batman Lateral Raises -4x10
  • With dumbbells in each hand standing lift the dumbbells to your side with a slight bend on the elbow until you are parallel as if you are Batman flaring his cape
  • Then lower dumbbells back down slowly
  • Repeat

4) Wonder Woman Triceps Dips - 4x15
  •  Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a bench and extend your legs out in front of you, your arms should be extended
  • Then slowly bend your  arms and lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle
  • Press down on the bench and push back up, extending your arms
  • Repeat
*** You can bend your legs to modify this exercise

5) Hammer of Thor Bicep Curls - 4x15
  • Begin standing position with dumb bells in each hand.
  • Grip the dumb bells with the palms of your hands facing your body and elbows close to your side
  • Only moving the forearm, begin to bring the dumb bell up as you squeeze your bicep
  • Hold for one second then slowly lower it back down
  • Repeat
6) Spidermans- 4x10
  •  Start in the standard pushup position with your feet on bench
  • As you lower your body toward the floor, lift your right foot off the floor, swing your right leg out sideways, and try to touch your knee to your elbow
  • Reverse the movement, then push your body back to the starting position
  • Repeat with the other leg and continue to alternate back and forth

 7) Superman Planks- 30 sec  each side
  •  Place hands directly underneath your shoulders with palms on the mat or floor
  • Extend your legs behind you and rest on your toes
  • Your body is now in a straight line between your shoulders and toes
  • Keep your abdominal muscles tight to help hold the position correctly
  • Extend one arm out and hold for desired time 
  • Alternate arm and repeat

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fanci S.M.A.R.T Goals

When starting your journey to a healthy lifestyle you may find yourself at a loss not knowing where to start. The acronym S.M.A.R.T is often used when setting goals not just in the fitness world but in life in general. S.M.A.R.T stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goals. So when making your goals you want to make sure you follow this guideline to help keep you on track and motivated. This blog will break down each letter to the S.M.A.R.T Goal setting strategy so that you can help build your plan in achieving your goals.

Specific ~ A specific goal is such as “I will work out 3 days a week” is more affective and stands a greater chances of being accomplished than a general goals such as “Getting in shape”. To help set a specific goal you need to ask yourself the six “W” questions:
  • Who: Who is involved? Is it just you or are you setting a specific goal with a friend or two? If you are setting a goal with a group remember no competing is allowed. You focus on you and let them focus on them. You are only there to keep each other accountable and to encourage, motivate and praise each other for you accomplishments.
  • What: What do I want to accomplish? Whatever it is make sure you start small and work yourself up to bigger goals so you don’t feel discourage. Where: Identify a location. Whether it be the outdoors, local gym or at home.
  • When: Establish a time frame and make sure you allow yourself the time you need to accomplish your goal. If time is a factor for make sure you schedule you workouts in as if they were daily meeting or appointments.
  • Which: Identify requirements and constraints. Know what it takes to achieve your goals. Many times there is more to achieving a goal than one may think. It is not just exercise you have to take time to factor in but eating right and making sure you mindset in on point. Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal. This is the most important question you need to ask yourself. Your “Why” is what is going to keep you from giving up when you feel like you are going nowhere. Never let go of your “Why”
Measurable ~ You need to make sure you have a way to measure you progress and preferable more than one way. By doing this it will help you stay on track and encourage you to move forward once a goal has been achieved by setting another goal. Way’s to help measure that do not involve the scale are:
  • Measuring yourself, just make sure it’s the same spot and side of the body every time you measure.
  • Write down your progress when it comes to exercise, how is your endurance, are you lifting more weight, can you do more pushups than when you started are you running faster etc.
  • How do you feel? Are you feeling more energetic, happy and overall better quality of life? Has blood pressure gone down? Are clothes looser? If you have any health conditions prior to starting and they have gotten better you need to give yourself a huge pat on the back for that.

To help determine if you goal is measurable ask yourself:

  • How much? How many?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?
Attainable ~ When you start identify your goals that are the most important to you begin to figure out ways you can make them happen. You develop a plan, change your attitude, and find abilities that you weren’t aware you had to help reach your goal. You may even see previously overlooked opportunities to help bring yourself closer to achieving your goals. Goals that may have seemed impossible will eventually seem possible simply because you grow as a person and being stronger and wiser than ever before. You realize that you are worthy of your goals and dreams and the only limit in achieving your goals is yourself.

As long you have a plan in mind on achieving your goals and plan it wisely and realistically you can and will attain any goal you set before yourself. Yes life gets in the way but as I say “Obstacles are those pesky things that get in our way when we take our eye off our goals”. So all you need to do is regroup and focus and never give up.

Also you may find that in journey to attain your goal that you goal may actually change. That is ok and completely acceptable and does not mean you are a failure or quitter of any sort. It simply means you are finding out who are and what you really want out of life.

Realistic ~ You need to keep your goals realistic. In order to do that you goal must be something you are both willing able to work towards. I often suggest creating a goal pyramid that way you have both short terms goals and long term goals to help Start off with a daily goal, then weekly goal, monthly goal, 3 month goal, 6 month goal and year goal. You are the only one that can decide how high or difficult your goal should be but you should always make sure each goal represents a step towards progress. You goal also becomes more realistic if you yourself believe that you can accomplish it. So believe in yourself and in your ability.

Timely ~ This is where the goal pyramid I suggested above comes into play. A goal should have around about time frame because without one there no sense of urgency and or desire to achieve that goal. . By putting a goal to a time frame you set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working towards that goal. That is why the goal pyramid works because you start with easy goals and work yourself up to the hard goals while seeing your progression along the way.

And finally don’t just be proud of yourself when you reach your goal or goals but proud of yourself each step you take towards your goal.